*note: this post contains content not suitable for children*
When you’re stumped on a puzzle and can’t seem to figure out the next move, what do you do?
You do what our director, Megan, did the other night. “Look at this group of very smart people just sitting here,” she said, gesturing over those assembled at the top of our first day of tech. “Let’s ask them.” So we turned to our team, pitched them our problem, and let the discussion begin!
In the .2 seconds of breath between the end of my explanation and the beginning of the brainstorm that followed, I could feel the energy swell. Everyone’s brains begain to bubble with the situation, the content, and all the collected theatre knowledge between them. There was a TD, an LD, a few PMs, a costume designer, and a handfull of carpenters all puzzling it out with me and the director, and helping us feel supported. No longer was the problem mine and Megan’s. It was all of ours.
And what were we working so hard to solve? How to make a female actor appear to have her period on stage on cue (and leak through her shorts).
Of course all of us ladies know that there’s no cuing Mother Nature. In fact, most of the time things like that happen in the most inconvenient way and time possible. So how do we make the appearance of accident happen with complete intention?
“Diffuse it through cotton,” said one voice.
“Slit the tubing, so there are multiple exit points,” said another.
“The shortest possible run of tubing, too, to limit pressure,” said a third.
“And try a different material for the shorts.”
All of the above later, in a bathroom spattered with chocolate/cherry flavored “blood” and remnants of dissected maxi pads, the costume designer and I finally worked out a system that we think is going to work reliably over time, be sustainable over the lenght of the run, and give the impact the director wants on stage. We could have probably arrived at a solution on our own, but certanly not as fast as we did with the support of the whole team, or with as much energy and creativity. By turning to our team we got a lot of folks on our side, and now those folks are rooting for us. It’s a good feeling (and makes me feel a little better about what I’m about to have to rig to this actress).